Author Archives: Aimee

Keeping Guinea Pigs cool in the summer – your top 12 guide

The recent warm weather has been perfect for us, but some Guinea Pig’s have suffered. Guinea Pigs can quickly overheat during the summer leading to heatstroke, which in severe cases can be fatal.

guinea pig

Unlike humans, Guinea Pigs cannot sweat – so this handy way of cooling down in humans, isn’t available for them. And if the temperature is very warm with a high humidity level (over 70%) the chances of heatstroke are even higher.

To keep your Guinea Pig cool this summer ExoticDirect have compiled this handy guide:

1. Guinea Pigs like temperatures of around 18 – 23 degrees Celsius. If the temperature goes above 26 degrees Celsius your Guinea Pig could be at risk of heatstroke. Anything below 15 degrees can lead to chills.

2. If your Guinea Pig is outside the hutch and run should not be in direct sunlight, a shady part of the garden is best.

3. North or east facing gardens are best for Guinea Pigs as these don’t get the sun all day. We’re not suggesting you move house because of your Guinea Pig, just if you have the option to move your piggy’s house, then do.

4. Ensure plenty of cold water is available. You can place a couple of ice cubes in it to cool it down further. Don’t overdo it though, as the shock of the ice also isn’t good for your Guinea Pig.

5. Wrap ice packs or frozen bottles of water in a cloth or a towel for your Guinea Pig to sit next to in his hutch.

6. Place a pan filled with ice cubes near your Guinea Pig – he or she will lie next to it to cool down. Make sure the pan is covered, to avoid your nosey Guinea Pig from taking a look and falling in!

7. Provide an old tile for your Guinea Pig to lie on. You can put this in the freezer beforehand to cool it down.

8. Give your Guinea Pig vegetables that are high in water content such as cucumber or berries. You should still make sure that your piggy’s diet is varied, with plenty of grass and hay and other vegetables. You should also still make sure that you provide your piggy with a source of Vitamin C.

9. Brush your Guinea Pig’s fur regularly to remove excess fur. If you’ve got a long haired guinea pig you could trim his coat so that it’s not so heavy, trapping heat. Imagine how you would feel wearing a heavy winter coat in the hot weather.

10. If your Guinea Pig is indoors, close the curtains – this keeps the bright sunlight out, and helps to reduce the room temperature. You’ll find this helpful for yourself too!

11. Use a fan or air conditioning making sure the draught is pointed away from your Guinea Pig. If your piggy is in a draught it could make him ill.

12. Don’t keep your Guinea Pig in sheds, garages or “Pigloo’s”. These don’t allow for air circulation or adequate ventilation, so warm air gets trapped. They can get really hot and humid.

Signs of heatstroke in a Guinea Pig

If your Guinea Pig is suffering from heatstroke, then he may well be:




Reluctant to move

Begin to have convulsions

If your Guinea Pig is showing signs of heatstroke you should cool him down by wetting his fur, ears and feet. Don’t go overboard with trying to cool him down, as if his body temperature drops too quickly, or too low, this can cause other health problems.

You should take him to the vet immediately who’ll monitor his condition and check for other complications that heat stroke can cause. It’s important you get him checked over, as heat stroke can be fatal.

ExoticDirect pet insurance can insure your Guinea Pig against unexpected vet fees, meaning that you can focus on your Guinea Pig when he’s poorly, not the cost of treatment. This can offer you real peace of mind, when you’re trying to decide the best course of action for your Guinea Pig.

And finally..

As long as you keep an eye on your Guinea Pig in the hot weather, and follow these measures, the threat of heatstroke should be minimal. Just like any other family member, your Guinea Pig just needs you to look out for him when the weather gets a bit too hot.

Guest post courtesy of Tamara Labelle of ExoticDirect pet insurance

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The No. 2 Week of Sharks Returns! #SharkFest

SharkFest, television’s second-best-known week of sharks, returns to Nat Geo WILD on Sunday, July 23 at 8 PM ET. In addition, decorated Olympian Ryan Lochte makes a splash to help spread the word about the most sharks per square inch on television.

A large Lemon Shark gulps down a large tuna head in front of a crowd of divers, Fiji.

Celebrating its fifth anniversary, SharkFest presents factual shark stories incorporating innovative research technology to reveal compelling insight on some of the most unique shark species in the world. With the help of scientists and shark experts, SharkFest will deliver the facts and raise awareness about these “jawsome” animals in more than 131 countries and 38 languages.

We are so excited, there are some seriously amazing shows lined up. Sharks are amazing, and the shark experts have so much interesting info to share. You are not going to want to miss it!

Shark v Predator
Premieres Sunday, July 23 8/7c
SharkFest kicks off with a look at the animals that dare to take on sharks. Seals, crocodiles, octopi, bobcats and even birds have gone head to head with these elite killers, and we’ve uncovered the footage to prove it. Watch rare moments when a shark ends up on the receiving end of an attack. It’s time for nature’s ultimate underwater showdown.

Tiger Shark Terror
Premieres Monday, July 24 8/7c
Every diver has been warned that sharks feed at night, but is this a myth or does the truth lurk somewhere deep beneath the waves? Professional shark diver Eli Martinez and scientist Matthew Smukall plunge into the nighttime world of Tiger Beach to investigate whether shark behavior changes once the sun goes down.

Mission Critical: Sharks Under Attack
Special Encore Airs Monday, July 24 10/9c
National Geographic underwater photographer and Instagram star Brian Skerry is on a mission to change the perception of our oceans’ greatest predators – sharks. After three decades capturing the world’s oceans on camera, Skerry knows sharks as kings of the oceans that keep these fragile ecosystems functioning, not as violent “Jaws”-like man-eaters.

Shark Swarm
Premieres Tuesday, July 25 8/7c
Across the vast oceans are underwater oases where sharks congregate in huge numbers. What is the attraction at these mysterious waypoints? Join shark scientist Riley Elliott on a unique expedition as he investigates some of the largest and most mysterious shark gatherings on the planet.

World’s Deadliest: Shark Frenzy!
Premieres Wednesday, July 26, 8/7c
The deep blue sea is a majestic place explored by many, but it also holds some of the world’s deadliest apex predators … sharks! These savage killers have one thing in common: the need to feed. In their quest, they use sheer force, technique and genetics to achieve their ultimate goal.

Posted in sharks, tv, wildlife | 2 Comments

Cooking With Cats Coloring Book (and a giveaway)

Do you love cats? What about food? Do you also like to color? This book combines all of those wonderful things together for a fun coloring experience! The cats take the cake in their “food cosplay”, such as cat sushi.

I’m always excited to try a new coloring book, and this one did not disappoint! As soon as my copy arrived I knew just which one I wanted to color first! Not that it was easy to choose though, with 25 illustrations to pick from, there were plenty of great choices.

Where did this idea come from you may ask? Author and Illustrator Jess Erskine explains;

My dad thought of it first, so I stole it from him and ran with it… mashing cats together with every kind of food I love, like cupcakes and coffee and sushi and cinnamon buns. It’s hard to look at this coloring book without your mouth watering.

And yes, Jess has a cat named Morty, and the book is dedicated to him. It’s a funny dedication too, one that most cat owners will probably relate to.  Apparently Morty is a bit of a butt, a lovable one though.

I picked the doughnut page as my first color, and since it was about food why not use my food scented markers, right? It’s still in progress, but I had so much fun coloring it! Another thing I love is that each page is single sided, so no need to worry about bleeding through to another design. Makes the book perfect for markers, crayons, or colored pencils.

Cooking With Cats coloring book

We have 3 copies for our giveaway! This is open to our readers in the US & Canada. If you can’t wait for your chance to color, you can pick up your own copy of Cooking With Cats online, and you can even print some coloring pages for free on the author’s website! Enter via the form, and good luck:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How hot is too hot for pets?

With Boynton Beach (FL) Police Department’s video saving a dog from heat stroke in a hot car has gone viral (click here to watch), Petplan pet insurance wants to remind pet owners that the heat takes its toll on our four-legged friends much differently. They put together these handy graphics to help pet owners see just how hot is too hot for our pets.

pet heat safety

pet heat safety

Pet heat hacks
It can be dangerous when pets’ body temperatures get just a few degrees above normal. Fortunately, with a little planning and preparation, keeping four-legged friends safe in warm weather can be a breeze. Here are six easy ways pet parents can help their pets beat the heat:

  • Chill out with a tasty treat. Freeze low-sodium chicken broth in a popsicle mold or ice cube tray for dogs and cats to enjoy on a hot day.
  • Hose down hot pavement, patios and porches before letting your pets outside. A little water could go a long way toward keeping paws cool and avoiding paw pad burns. Pet parents can also run cool water over their dog’s feet.
  • Say yes to ice water. Adding ice to pets’ water bowls creates a game for curious canines—they’ll bob for ice cubes and stay cool and hydrated in the process!
  • Cool the crate. If your pet will be crated while you’re away, try freezing two-liter water bottles and placing them on top of the crate. They’ll give off cool air and help keep the spot cool.
  • Wear a cold compress. A refrigerated wet bandana will help keep Fido cool and stylish this summer—this is especially effective because of the temperature receptors around dogs’ necks.
  • Make a splash. A backyard baby pool is a great way for pets to stay cool (and it’s fun too!). Some cats may even choose to toe the water.

When these hazards send pets to the vet, they can cause a deep dive into pet parents’ pockets with treatment costs averaging $2,606 for heat stroke, $398 for dehydration and $913 for hyperthermia. And the risk of heat-related incidents is nearly twice as high for brachycephalic (or snub-nosed) breeds such as Boxers, Bulldogs and Pugs.

Be safe while you are enjoying the summer with your furry friends! Remember, if it’s hot for you, it’s even hotter for them!

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